Learning to Doubt: An Excerpt from Tainted Witness, by Leigh Gilmore

In this moving and transformative text, Leigh Gilmore explores the different ways that women’s testimonies are made incredible. With patience and care, Gilmore explores how testimonies circulate, how they keep open histories that have yet to be resolved, and how testimonies become tainted because of who as well as what they point to. This insightful book gives testimony a feminist hearing.

~Sara Ahmed, author of Living a Feminist Life and Willful Subjects

Why are women so often considered unreliable witnesses to their own experiences? In cases of sexual assault, women’s testimonies are repeatedly looked upon with skepticism and doubt, but the recent conviction of Harvey Weinstein on two counts of felony sexual assault marks a historic change in this view. Look back at the history of women’s testimonies in this excerpt from chapter 5 of Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives, by Leigh Gilmore, to better understand how this doubt in women as witnesses arises.

Read more in this blog by Leign Gilmore on “How the Harvey Weinstein Verdict Changed the Credibility of Women’s Testimony.”


On March 11, 2020, the judge sentenced Weinstein to a controversial 23 years in prison. In this article, Gilmore points out the emotional ramifications that a light sentence would have on both the victims and the legal system.

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